Buckets of money for the brain
Apart from the recent ALS ice-bucket challenge, the perception is that neurological disorders have become the poor relation of oncology and other diseases when it comes to public and private funding. But an uptick in activity on both fronts suggests the landscape of neuroscience investment may not be as bleak as presumed.
Although many researchers contend that the field is still underfunded relative to the burden of disease on society, advances in genetics, markers and disease models-as well as multidisciplinary projects focusing on the brain as a whole-are drawing investors back and prompting the creation of public-private partnerships (PPPs) that might spur yet more innovation.
Indeed, this week, the Janssen Inc. unit of Johnson & Johnson announced a partnership with the University of Toronto to fund new therapeutic approaches in mood disorders and Alzheimer's disease (AD). The deal is the 22nd neurology-based PPP this year and continues the trend of the last 3 years in which 29-57 neurology PPPs were formed annually. When that trend is compared with a range of 49-79 PPPs annually over the same period for cancer-widely considered the best-funded disease area-it suggests interest in neuroscience has not faded entirely (see"Investing in the brain"). Moreover, there were more PPPs focused on neurology than on endocrine and metabolic diseases or autoimmunity and